Jan 20, 2023
Stash vs. Robinhood: A Comparison Guide for 2023
Stash vs. Robinhood: Key Differences
Stash aims to help new investors build wealth for the long term with personalized financial advice and managed portfolios, while Robinhood is primarily a trading app geared toward short-term investors.
So, you’re armed and ready (with your smartphone, that is) to dive into the investing world—but first, you need to decide on the best investing app. Stash and Robinhood are both popular picks among beginner investors, but how do they compare? Is Stash better than Robinhood, or is Robinhood better than Stash? The answer depends on what you’re looking for.
While both platforms will appeal to new investors seeking a low barrier to entry into the stock market, they have many differences in fees, investment types, and unique features. Below, we dive into everything you need to know about Stash vs. Robinhood and take a closer look at the most important features to consider before deciding which is right for you.
How Stash works
- New investors who want to learn about, manage and grow wealth over time
- Investors who want the support of an automated portfolio
- Beginners who want personalized investment recommendations
Stash is a holistic investing and personal finance app that aims to help everyday investors save and build wealth. Our focus is taking the guesswork out of choosing investments by providing education on investing regularly, thinking long-term, and diversification. This is paired with advice & education that specifically provide support to beginner investors.
We offer a variety of tools for banking, investing, and saving for retirement and cater specifically to new investors seeking support reaching long-term financial goals.
As a subscription-based platform, we offer two monthly plans costing between $3 and $9 per month. Every Stash plan comes with personalized advice and ongoing financial education, along with the option for an automated, managed portfolio based on your unique goals and risk tolerance.
Even if you don’t use the managed portfolio, we offer thousands of ETFs and stocks to invest in—including fractional shares, which is a helpful option for those who want to start investing but don’t have a ton of funds to invest upfront. If you want to invest in crypto, we offer this as well.
While many use Stash as an investment app, we go beyond investing with services like mobile banking, cash-back options, and custodial and retirement accounts.
- Recurring Transactions for regular, automated investing
- Portfolio diversification analysis tool keeps your portfolio balanced and aligned with your goals
- Stock-Back Debit Mastercard lets you earn shares of stock up to 3%2 every time you spend your debit card
|Automated investing option for brokerage account||No automated investing for IRAs|
|Banking perks like Stock-Back Debit Mastercard and round-ups||No tax-loss harvesting|
|Ability to choose your own stocks or ETFs||Not ideal for short-term traders—only 4 trading windows per day|
|Fractional shares available for as little as $0.01||Limited IRA selection|
|Variety of automation tools available to make saving and investing habitual|
How Robinhood works
- Short-term investors who want to trade actively and often
- Active traders looking for a low-cost trading platform
- Investors who don’t need support building or managing their portfolio
Robinhood is a trading app that caters mainly to investors who want to actively trade stocks, options, and cryptocurrency. Like Stash, Robinhood boasts commission-free trading across a variety of assets and offers fractional shares. Previously, Robinhood didn’t offer the option to invest in retirement accounts, but as of December 2022, they’ve added IRA investment accounts to the platform.
Robinhood’s app is a simple, intuitive trading platform that caters to novice investors seeking basic trading features and the ability to place trades quickly and easily.
When it comes to costs, Robinhood’s (mostly) fee-free model appeals to active traders seeking a low-cost way to start trading quickly and efficiently. While Robinhood is known for its low costs, be sure to read Robinhood’s support page to find information about potential fees before placing a trade or requesting any services.
Unlike Stash, Robinhood also offers options or margin trading. To trade on margin, you’ll need a Robinhood Gold subscription for $5 per month, which includes $1,000 of margin.
- Commission-free equity trading (stocks and ETFs)
- No fees for options trading
- Margin trading available (Robinhood Gold only)
|No mutual funds or bonds||Unlimited immediate trades in stocks, options, crypto, and ETFs|
|Limited research and educational content||No account minimum|
|Limited customer support||Tax savings|
Stash vs. Robinhood: 5 factors to consider
Choosing between Robinhood or Stash (or any other investing app) comes down to knowing your personal preferences and what functionalities are most important to you. For a thorough comparison, consider the factors below and how each app stacks up.
Stash vs. Robinhood: Accounts supported
|Individual brokerage account and automated Smart Portfolio||Individual brokerage account|
|Retirement accounts (Roth and traditional IRAs)||Retirement accounts (Roth and traditional IRAs)|
|Custodial accounts (UGMA/UTMA accounts)||Margin and options accounts|
|Personal banking account||Personal banking account|
Stash and Robinhood both offer individual brokerage accounts, but only Stash offers the option of a managed portfolio, or Smart Portfolio. For investors seeking support building their portfolio from scratch, Stash offers a personalized Smart Portfolio based on your risk profile and goals. Stash actively monitors and manages the account for you and rebalances when necessary.
On the other hand, Robinhood’s standard brokerage account offering is not personalized or managed for you—you’ll need to select your investments, risk profile, and asset allocations yourself.
This makes Robinhood a fair choice for more seasoned investors. Less experienced investors may favor Stash if they want investment recommendations and professional input on their portfolio.
Both Stash and Robinhood offer retirement accounts (Roth or Traditional IRA), and Stash also offers custodial accounts for kids. For those wondering if you can trade options on Stash, you can’t—in this case, options traders may prefer Robinhood, which offers both options trading and margin trading accounts.
Stash vs. Robinhood: Fees
|Account minimum||$0 ($5 to start investing with Smart Portfolios)||$0 ($1 for fractional shares, $2,000 for margin trading)|
|Account management fees||$3-$9/month depending on plan||$0, or $5/month for Gold plan|
|Trading and commission fees||$0||No commission fees, but trading fees vary by investment|
|Automated Customer Account Transfers (ACATS)||$75||$100|
One significant difference between Stash and Robinhood is their fee structures.
With Robinhood, you can start trading as soon as you set up your account with no monthly fees. It is important to note that trading fees are included. If you want to trade on margin with Robinhood, you’ll need a Robinhood Gold subscription that costs $5/month. This includes $1,000 of margin, and margin usage over $1,000 has a 7% interest rate.
Alternatively, Stash is a subscription-based platform. We offer two service tiers, priced at $3 (Stash Growth) and $9 per month (Stash+). Stash Growth includes financial advice, a personal portfolio (not managed), an automated Smart Portfolio (managed), a retirement portfolio (Roth or traditional IRA), banking access, a Stock-Back debit card, and $1,000 in life insurance.
Stash+ includes everything Stash Growth offers, as well as family financial planning advice, market insights, two custodial accounts, a Stock-Back debit card that earns more in rewards (1% back for up to $1,000 spent), and $10,000 in life insurance.
In sum, if you’d rather not pay a monthly fee, you may prefer Robinhood. However, for new investors looking for more in-depth support, the wide range of educational tools and features that come with each Stash plan may make the monthly fee worthwhile—like the option to have a professionally managed portfolio.
Stash vs. Robinhood: Services and features
|IRAs (Roth and Traditional)|
|Socially responsible investing||✘|
Both Stash and Robinhood offer standard taxable brokerage accounts for investing in stocks, fractional shares, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies. In addition, Stash offers custodial accounts, bonds, and IRAs, while Robinhood offers options and margin trading.
The different investment types Robinhood vs. Stash offer suit different investors—if your priority is long-term investing with assets like ETFs and stocks, you may favor Stash. But if you’re interested in short-term trading, Robinhood has more investment options.
Many of the differences between Stash vs. Robinhood come down to the features they offer. Here’s an overview of Stash’s features:
- Managed Portfolios powered by Smart Portfolio gives you a managed, automated portfolio with automatic rebalancing
- Recurring Transactions automatically transfers money to your investment accounts
- Stock-Back rewards debit card rewards you with fractional shares of stock every time you spend your debit card
- Stock Round-Ups automatically rounds up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and invests the spare change in your Stash account
- Fractional shares at any amount (as little as $0.01)
- Banking perks like instant transfers, early direct deposit3 (up to two days), mobile check deposits, and no overdraft fees5
- Socially responsible investing (SRI) options that let you invest in companies that align with your values
- StockParties where users can claim bonus stock at party.stash.com at certain times. Stock Party was created to teach Stashers about diversification.
In comparison, here’s an overview of Robinhood’s features:
- Stock-lending allows users to earn money by lending stocks to other users
- Fractional shares for as little as $1
- Recurring investments automatically transfer money to your investment accounts
- Professional research data (Gold members only) offers access to research from Morningstar, Nasdaq, and Nasdaq Totalview level II Market Data
- Initial public offerings (IPO) investing allows users to buy IPO shares (that is, users can buy shares of stock at the OPO price as it becomes available to the public)
- American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) for international stock options (though fees may apply)
- Robinhood Cash Card rewards rewards Robinhood Spending Account users with cash-back for shopping at certain retailers; no opt-in or activation required
- Spending Account (banking) perks like fee-free ATM access to 90,000 ATMS, early direct deposit, no overdraft fees, and no account minimums
- Round-Ups automatically rounds up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and deposits the spare change into your Robinhood brokerage account
Both Stash and Robinhood offer an array of automation tools to give users a hands-off way to consistently save and invest. They also offer similar mobile banking perks like roundups, cash- or stock-back rewards, and automatic savings tools, and they both offer fractional shares—although Robinhood has a minimum investment of $1, while Stash allows fractional share purchases for as low as $0.01.
Possibly the biggest difference to note about Stash vs. Robinhood’s top features is that Stash offers a personalized, managed portfolio, while Robinhood does not—an important consideration for brand-new investors who may need portfolio management and support from a professional.
Stash vs. Robinhood: Mobile experience
|iOS (iPhone) app store rating:||4.7 (out of 5)||4.2 (out of 5)|
|Google Play rating:||4.0||3.9|
Choosing an investing app is hard enough, but what about getting up and running once you open an account?
Both Stash and Robinhood prioritize simplicity, aiming to remove the friction new investors feel when investing in the stock market for the first time. Both apps offer an easy, intuitive process for buying and selling assets. The Stash and Robinhood mobile apps are available on iOS and Android devices.
The Stash app has a very beginner-friendly interface. The main dashboard has two different sections (investing and banking), with an at-a-glance view of all your accounts and current balances, and rewards activity. While Stash is accessible via desktop, you can access all aspects of your account in the app without the need for a computer.
The Robinhood app also boasts an ultra-simple interface that lets you quickly view portfolio account values and trading positions. Robinhood’s search capabilities allow users to quickly learn important information about stocks, including market capitalization, P/E ratio, and price highs and lows.
In their goal to make the trading experience as seamless as possible, Robinhood has a “Trade” icon that stays on the screen as users scroll through a stock’s information, allowing you to place a trade in an instant.
While Robinhood succeeds in ease of use, more experienced traders have long requested access to more advanced features for analyzing stock trends. Recently, Robinhood took action on that request—in 2022, they rolled out new advanced charts with improved visual analysis functionality to help traders better identify trends.
Stash vs. Robinhood: Customer Support
|Phone support:||Yes (8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. EST)||Yes (via callback request)|
|Support via social media:||Yes||Yes|
|Human advisors available:||Yes||No|
|Personalized portfolio advice:||Yes||No|
With Stash, users have access to live human support via phone and email. For broader questions and support, Stash’s chatbot functionality and FAQ page serve as simple points of reference for more common questions. As well, users can submit their own questions on the FAQ page.
As for Robinhood, all customer service questions must go through the app or website—there’s no phone line available to call Robinhood and receive live human support. Users can, however, submit a request for a callback within the app.
The Bottom Line of Stash vs. Robinhood
Both Stash and Robinhood offer a simple way to start investing in stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrency. Ultimately, choosing between Stash vs. Robinhood comes down to your personal preferences and what features you want most in an investing app.
Stash is the most suitable for brand-new investors who need support getting started and investors who want to invest for the long-term. Stash’s managed portfolio offering, in-depth library of educational content, and personalized investing advice make them an ideal choice for beginner investors who want trusted support and guidance.
On the other hand, Robinhood’s platform may appeal most to those interested in short-term investing. In general, Robinhood is more suitable for active traders who are comfortable investing with minimal guidance.
If your priority is day-trading and buying and selling stocks quickly, you’ll likely favor Robinhood’s longer trading windows that support more short-term trading tactics. Alternatively, Stash’s shorter trading windows align with a long-term investing approach and can help reduce the possibility of panic selling and keeping a long-term mindset.
Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. Investing involves risk and investments may lose value.
1 Stash Banking services provided by Stride Bank, N.A., Member FDIC. The Stash Stock-Back® Debit Mastercard® is issued by Stride Bank pursuant to license from Mastercard International. Mastercard and the circles design are registered trademarks of Mastercard International Incorporated. Any earned stock rewards will be held in your Stash Invest account. Investment products and services provided by Stash Investments LLC, not Stride Bank, and are Not FDIC Insured, Not Bank Guaranteed, and May Lose Value. In order for a user to be eligible for a Stash banking account, they must also have opened a taxable brokerage account on Stash.
All rewards earned through use of the Stash Stock-Back® Debit Mastercard® will be fulfilled by Stash Investments LLC. You will bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the investments that you earn, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash. In order to earn stock in the program, the Stash Stock-Back® Debit Mastercard must be used to make a qualifying purchase. What doesn’t count: Cash withdrawals, money orders, prepaid cards, and P2P payment. If you make a qualifying purchase at a merchant that is not publicly traded or otherwise available on Stash, you will receive a stock reward in an ETF or other investment of your choice from a list of companies available on Stash. 1% Stock-Back® rewards are subject to terms and conditions. Stock rewards that are paid to participating customers via the Stash Stock Back program, are Not FDIC Insured, Not Bank Guaranteed, and May Lose Value. Stash reserves the right to amend this program and the terms and conditions thereof and/or cancel this program at any time, for any reason, upon notice to you. See Terms and Conditions for more details.
2 1% Stock-Back® rewards available only on Stash+ ($9/mo) and only for client’s first $1,000 of Qualifying Purchases in each calendar month program. See Terms and Conditions for details. Limitations apply; 3% Stock-Back rewards available only for qualified bonus merchants on Stash+.
3 Early access to direct deposit funds depends on when the payor sends the payment file. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.
4 This Program is subject to terms and conditions. In order to participate, a user must comply with all eligibility requirements and make a qualifying purchase with their Stock-Back® Card. All funds used for this Program will be taken from your Stash Banking account.
5 For a complete list of fees please see the Deposit Account Agreement for details.
Cryptocurrency trading and execution services are provided by Apex Crypto LLC (NMLS ID 1828849) through a software license agreement between Apex Crypto LLC and Stash Financial, Inc. Apex Crypto is not a registered broker-dealer or a member of SIPC or FINRA and is licensed to engage in virtual currency business activity by the New York State Department. Cryptocurrencies are not securities and are not FDIC or SIPC insured. Advisory products and services are offered through Stash Investments LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. Cryptocurrency is a highly volatile investment; please ensure that you fully understand the risks involved before trading crypto. Visit apexcrypto.com/legal. Apex Crypto charges customers a fee on each cryptocurrency transaction based on their subscription plan with Stash, a portion of which Stash receives as revenue.
Stash offers access to investment and banking accounts under each subscription plan. Each type of account is subject to different regulations and limitations. Stash Monthly Subscription Wrap Fee starts at $3/month. You’ll also bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of ETFs, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash and/or the Custodian. Please see the Advisory Agreement for details. Other fees apply to the bank account. Please see the Deposit Account Agreement.
Stash has full authority to manage a “Smart Portfolio,” a discretionary managed account. Diversification and asset allocation do not guarantee a profit, nor do they eliminate the risk of loss of principal. Stash does not guarantee any level of performance or that any client will avoid losses in their account.
“Kids Portfolio” is a custodial UGMA / UTMA account. Money in a custodial account is the property of the minor. This type of account is a Non-Discretionary Managed account.
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